Saturday, December 7, 2013

Die Fürstliche Familie von Liechtenstein Eine Photoreportage

Oh my!  My oh my! Die Fürstliche Familie von Liechtenstein Eine Fotoreportage (van eck Verlag: 42 Euros) is an absolutely splendid book. One of the best royal books of the year. 

Books about the Princely family of Liechtenstein are few and far between.  Books about the Prince Family of Liechtenstein with a German-English text is even more rare.  Yes, this nearly 300 page book is in German AND English!

Hip hip hooray for Liechtenstein publisher van Eck Verlag, which is the publisher of Uve Harder, a photographer who has spent many years taking photographs of the Princely family.

Harder was born in the Sudetenland in 1944, and immigrated to Liechtenstein with his family after the second world war.  At the local primary school in Vaduz, the young Harder shared a desk with the then Hereditary Prince Hans Adams.  They would meet again in St. Gallen, Switzerland, were the Prince was studying economics.  Harder was a student at the School of Fine Arts, majoring in photography.  He and Hans Adams lived on the same street.  (Harder includes a class photo from 4th grade where he and Prince Hans Adam both are sitting in the front row.)

The life long friendship between Prince Hans Adams and Ute Harder has led to this book, which chronicles three generations of the Princely family.

All of the photos are in black and white, and, naturally, the focus is on the Prince and Prince of Liechtenstein and their eldest son, Hereditary Prince Alois and his family.   Harder also includes a small selection of photos of Hans Adam's siblings and their families, and his younger children.   The final dozen pages honor the late Prince Franz Josef and Princess Gina, the parents of the reigning Sovereign Prince.   Franz Josef and Gina died within weeks of each other in the fall of 1989.

The focus on the main branch includes a selection of photos from the weddings of Hans Adam to Countess Marie Kinsky and Alois to Duchess Sophie in Bavaria.

Liechtenstein's National Day is celebrated on August 15, and members of the Princely Family play major roles in the national celebrations.  Harder and his camera are always present for these celebrations, and he has snapped the celebrations for some years.  Nearly 200 pages are devoted to photographs of the national celebrations, beginning with 1993 through 2012, although not all years are included.

The subtitle of the book is Eine fürstichle jedoch ganz normale Familie, which translates to "A princely, but perfectly normal family."

What makes this book truly special is that none of these photos are formal or official portraits.  Every photo is a open candid shot, not staged,  thus offering a view of a "perfectly normal family." 

This book is a true treasure, especially due to the limited number of books on the princely family of Liechtenstein.  If the book is a success, perhaps the publisher will do another  book on the Princely family.  I suggest a book on princely weddings.

The book is available from the American, British and German Amazon sites.  If you have an account on Amazon, you also can order from all the other Amazon sites.  The Dutch bookstore, Van Hoogstraten, also has copies for sale.   Type Liechtenstein into the search box.



Friday, December 6, 2013

Russia & Europe Dynastic Ties

The fall of communism and the Soviet Union has brought many changes,  including the opening of the state archives to historians.  Although the Soviets destroyed much of the history of Imperial Russia,  historians and biographers continue to find a treasure trove of photographs and documents, including letters and diaries.

Galina Korneva and Tatiana Cheboksarova are Romanov specialists based in St. Petersburg, Russia, who have had unprecedented access to the once forbidden archives, and have written several books.

Most of their books have not been translated into English.  This is sad, but understandable because good translations are an expense that most publishers do not want to undertake,    Books on royalty are among the least translated largely due to the knowledge that royal books do not make the bestseller lists.

A round of applause to Eurohistory for publishing Galina and Tatiana's latest book,  Russia & Europe Dynastic Ties.

This book includes nearly 600 photographs from Russian and European archives.  Eurohistory owner Art Beeche has expanded the original edition by adding photographs from his own collection.

The title refers to the royal ties between the Romanov and the European and British Royal Families, mainly through marriage.

The authors begin their book with a chapter of Alexander II,  his consort Marie Alexandrovna (born a princess of Hesse and By Rhine) and German Emperor Wilhelm I.

Wilhelm's sister, Charlotte, was the mother of Alexander II. She converted to Orthodoxy at the time of her marriage to the future Nicholas I, taking the name Alexandra Feodorovna.   This marriage brought a German influence to the Russian Court.

Charlotte's daughter, Olga, and her family is featured in the chapter on the Württembergs.  Olga married King Karl I, and spent more than 40 years in her adopted country, where she established several charities supporting women.   Karl and Olga were childless, so they adopted Olga's niece, Grand Duchess Vera Konstantinova, who thrived in her new home.  She "further strengthened" the ties between Russia and Wurttemberg, when she married one of Duke Wilhelm Eugen of Württemberg.

A Württemberg princess Friederike Charlotte Maria came to Russia in 1824 to marry Grand Duke Michael Pavlovich.  A "very independent character,"  Grand Duchess Helen Pavlovna took on numerous charitable works.  It was during the Crimean war that Helen's support for professional nurses that allowed for nurses to travel to the battlefronts for the first time.

What makes this book different is the authors' determination to focus not only on the main Romanov lines, but also on the Hessian siblings, Alix, Ernie and Ella, delving into the myriad of ties between Russian and Hesse and by Rhine, the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (thanks to the marriage of Grand Duchess Anasastia Mikhailovna to Grand Duke Friedrich Franz III), and the family of Princess Dagmar of Denmark -- the future Empress Marie Feodorovna, consort of Alexander III.

There are also chapters on Grand Duke Constantine and his family, Queen Olga and the Greek royal family, and Grand Duke George who married Princess Marie of Greece..

Every foreign marriage - princesses who married  Grand Dukes and the Grand Duchesses who married into foreign royal families - meant a further intertwining of family connections.

A Grand Duchess would settle into her new home, bringing her jewels and her religion, thus maintaining ties with Russia. Russian Orthodox cathedrals and chapels were built throughout Germany.

The Russian Revolution ended the 300 reign of the Romanov Dynasty.   The Soviets tried to wipe out and destroy much of the Imperial family's history.

Thankfully, they did not eliminate everything, and now, nearly 100 years since the Revolution, historians, biographers and everyone else can appreciate the work of Russian historians, including Galina and Tatiana, who have produced a monumental work.

This is the first book that offers a true perspective of the family connections between the Romanovs and their spouses and their families.   The new family ties also brought new politics, new architecture - Russians influencing Germans and vice versa.

You will not be disappointed with Russia & Europe Dynastic Ties.  318 pages.  The U.S. price is $49.95

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Eddy & Hélene

Every once in awhile you read a book that is truly special.  Eddy & Hélene ... an Impossible Match (Rosvall Royal Books) is a rare gem.

Prince Michael of Greece, who is a historian par excellence, was given permission to rummage through boxes of family papers in a relative's garage,   He does not identify the relative, but the letters MCBS are an obvious clue:  Princess Maria Cristina of Bourbon-Two-Sicilies, younger daughter of Prince Amedeo, 3rd Duke of Aosta, and Princess Anne of France.  She and Michael are maternal first cousins.

Prince Amedeo was the elder of two sons of Emanuele Filiberto, 2nd Duke of Aosta, and his wife, Princess Helene of France, whose sister, Isabelle, was the mother of her future daughter-in-law, Anne.  [To complicate the family further,  Prince Michael's daughter, Olga, is married to Prince Aimone of Savoy, the son of the present Duke of Aosta, whose father, the late Prince Aimone, Duke of Savoy, younger son of the 2nd Duke of  Aosta.]

Sitting on the garage floor, Prince Michael came across a file, "written in ink, it had the name 'Eddy'," which did not mean anything at first to him.

He opened to find correspondence between his great-grandfather, the Count of Paris and the Vatican, and letters written mostly in English to Helene and signed by Eddy.  It was only until Michael read a letter from Queen Victoria did he realize that Eddy was HRH Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, second in line to the British throne,  Hélene was Michael's great aunt.

Hélene was raised in exile in England.  Her parents became good friends with Queen Victoria and other members of British Royal Family, so it was not a real surprise that she would come in contact with Prince Albert Victor, then the second in line to the throne,

Albert Victor fell very much in love with Hélene, and she apparently reciprocated.  Marriage was another matter.  Helene was Roman Catholic, and, thus, unable to marry a British prince, according to the Act of Settlement.

The correspondence was largely one-sided:  Eddy's letters to Hélene.  Prince Michael visited the Royal Archives and discovered that correspondence and other papers concerning Eddy have been destroyed.  He was able to enhance the original letters with correspondence between Queen Victoria and Hélene's parents.  The Count of Paris would not hear of his daughter converting to the Anglican faith in order to marry the Duke of Clarence.  He told Queen Victoria that he did not think Hélene's desire to convert was sincere, nor did he think she understood the "gravity of the consequences of it."

The Count of Paris was certainly aware of mixed marriages.  His mother was Lutheran and retained her faith even after her marriage.

Queen Victoria wrote to Hélene on July 1, 1891.  She told the princess that she had wished for the marriage but "feared the difficulties of this marriage ... would be insurmountable.... that in spite of my keen desire to facilitate this union, my hands are tied and I can change absolutely nothing in the laws which prohibit all marriages between English princes and Catholics, because of the succession to the throne."  She added that she had read Hélene's "sad letter" to "my poor grandson, who is also very unhappy about, but there is absolutely nothing to be done.  I believe he will have to accept it."

 The romance and aborted engagement between Albert Victor and Hélene was kept out of the press.  After the final breakup, Eddy's family moved quickly to find him a more suitable bride.  Victoria considered a selection of German princesses, but none were suitable. The attention soon turned to May of Teck, the only daughter of Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge and the morganatic Duke of Teck.  Although May had a German title, she was very much an English Princess.   Eddy appeared "enchanted" with May, and the engagement was announced in early October 1891.  Queen Victoria wrote to the Countess of Paris to inform her of Eddy's engagement, knowing that Isabelle could break the news gently to her daughter.

The  British press "was unanimous in its praises" for the newly engaged couple.  The foreign press, especially the American newspapers, were far less effusive,  On December 11, 1891, the New York Times stripped away illusions that May was Eddy's "persistent love."   The paper reported that "it is known that the Duke of Clarence has long been enamoured of Princess Helene of Orleans."  The paper also reported that Helene returned his love, that her family supported the match, and even went to the Pope for assistance,

The marriage was scheduled to take place on February 27, 1892.  May arrived at Sandringham on January 4.  Her fiancé was suffering a cold, which he had caught while attending the funeral of Prince Victor of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, his father's first cousin.  He went hunting on his birthday, January 8, and he returned to the house with a fever. 

Prince Eddy was confined to his bedroom with a diagnose of influenza, while his family celebrated his birthday downstairs.   Two days later, Eddy was declining.  Influenza developed into pneumonia.  He became delirious. 

Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale died on January 14, just 28 years old.  In one of his final moments, he called for Hélene, not May.  It was Helene who he loved until the end.

Although May, the grieving fiancée (in July 1893, she married Eddy's younger brother, Prince George, Duke of York,) was embraced and supported by her family,  there was also a concern for Helene by Queen Victoria and other members of the family.

Victoria wrote to the Countess of Paris about her grandson's death, stating she thought much of "your poor Hélene, who I am sure will be painfully affected by this terrible disaster which has just struck us."

All three of Eddy's sisters, Louise, Victoria and Maud, also wrote to Hélene.  Maud's letter included "He was buried with your little Coin around his neck."   She ended the letter "sister Harry."

The Duke of Clarence has been portrayed as a dullard, poorly educated, certainly a prince not suited to be king.  This book proves otherwise:  his letters are surprisingly cognizant, full of details, and showing a growing passion and love for Helene. He seemed certain he would be able to marry the French princess.

In one letter, he writes: "Tomorrow I have a very tiresome function to go through, as I have to go to Cardiff and do all sorts of things,  What a difference it would make I only had you my darling to go about me with these places..."

The couple was most certainly engaged, at least unofficially, as the engagement (and the ring) are referred to numerous times in Eddy's letters.

In the end, it was Hélene who broke off the engagement, knowing full well that the religious issue was insurmountable,  She ended her letter, written from Lisbon (visiting her sister, the Queen of Portugal, on May 1, 1891), "Do your duty as an English prince without hesitation and forget me.

That one was the one thing Eddy could not do.

Christmas is coming.  Treat yourself.  You won't regret it.  I wonder what Prince Michael will find next in his garage.

The book can also be ordered directly from the publisher, Rosvall Royal Books.  Click on the link for more information.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Princess Marie Jose Entre Belgique et Italie

Princess Marie-José of Belgium (1906-2001) was the only daughter of King Albert I and Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians.   In 1930, she married Umberto, Prince of Piedmont, heir to the Italian throne. 

The marriage was an arrangement that failed abysmally.  The couple were the parents of three daughters and one son.  In May 1946, Umberto succeeded to the throne after his father, King Vittorio Emanuele abdicated.  After a reign for a mere 44 days, the monarchy collapsed in a public referendum, where the majority voted for a republic. Umberto and Marie Jose went into exile, going their separate ways. 

The marriage between the only daughter of the King and Queen of the Belgians and the only son of the King and Queen of Italy was a political coup, a dynastic arrangement, long planned between two of the most prominent Catholic monarchies.

In 2012, an exhibition of Marie Jose's clothes and the preparation for the marriage opened in Brussels at the Musées royaux d'Art et d'Histoire under the patronage of Queen Paola.  

The exhibition was supported by the La Fondation Humbert II and Marie José de Savoie.  Belgian publisher Lannoo published a French-language companion book,  La Princesse  Marie José Entre Belgique et Italie  Une garde-robe royale written and edited by Marguerte Coppens.  (The title translates to Princess Marie José between Belgium and Italy. A royal wardrobe.)

Marie José's marriage was a marriage of state ... and a marriage of the heart.  Her trousseau would be a combination of Belgian and Italian designs, and as the Princess of Piedmont, wife of the heir apparent, Marie-José would become the standard bearer for Italian fashion, 

This book also is the exhibition catalog so there will are photographs and descriptions of the clothes, jewels, photographs and other items that were included in the exhibit.

128 pages.  French text.  Plenty of illustrations.   The book can be ordered from the museum's shop.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Shopping on Amazon helps me out!

Full transparency:  if you click on one of my Amazon links and purchase the book, I earn a few pennies.  Seriously a few pennies.  You can also purchase books or anything else on Amazon if you use my search boxes (for US, UK & Germany)  -- and readers have stepped up to the plate and ordered some interesting things. 

The extra pennies don't come from you, but from Amazon sharing their good fortune with people who want to spread the good word about their company.

It does not matter whether you purchase the product direct from Amazon or from a third party.  It does matter, however, that the item(s) be ordered from a link, using one of the search boxes (make sure you are already logged into your own Amazon account) or my Stores.

Every little bit (and I mean little) is going toward my 60th birthday blow out next spring.  The actual birthday is in June, but prices are a little less expensive in May.  The plan -- for now -- is to fly to London for a few days, then fly to Dubrovnik, spend a few days there, take a bus into Montenegro and see more of that beautiful country, and perhaps get to Albania for a day or so, and return to London for another day or two.

I only wish one could also earn air miles on Amazon.

All you need to do is shop, using the links on Royal Musings and here on Royal Book News. 

A new biography on Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll

Several years ago I was able to attend Lucinda Hawkley's lecture on Princess Louise at the National Portrait Gallery in London.  Hawskley mentioned she was writing a book on Princess Louise. 

I am looking forward to reading her new book, The Mystery of Princess Louise: Queen Victoria's Rebellious Daughter (Chatto & Windus: £25.00).

It will be interesting to see how this book stands up to the largely definitive biography, Princess Louise, Queen Victoria's Unconventional Daughter by Jehanne Wake.  I can certainly recommend adding this book to a royal library.  One of the best royal biographies ever written.  Also recommended Darling Loosy: Letters to Princess Louise, 1856-1939.  This compilation of letters was edited by the late acclaimed royal biographer, Elizabeth Longford.


A must have Christmas present .

Public librarian Helen Azar's fluency in Russian comes in handy for this Romanov specialist.  She recently translated Grand Duchess Olga Nicolaievna of Russia's wartime diaries.  The Diary of Olga Romanov: Royal Witness to the Russian Revolution is due for release on December 1.  The publisher is Westholme. 


The Camera and the Tsars: translated in to Danish

British royal author Charlotte Zeepvat's fabulous book, The Camera and the Tsars (2006) is now available in a Danish-language translation, Kejserinde Dagmars russiske familiealbum. The publisher is Forlaget Rosenkilde & Bahnof.  The price is 299.95 DK.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Assassination of the Archduke by Greg King and Sue Woolmans

What is the first thing you think of when someone mentions Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria?  Most likely you would answer:  his assassination at Sarajevo, Bosnia, on June 28, 1914, a tragedy that quickly engulfed central Europe into a world war.  The archduke, heir presumptive to the thrones of Austria, was on an official trip to Bosnia, a small, confused parcel of land once a part of the Ottoman Empire, only to be incorporated into another empire, the Austro-Hungarian empire. 

Bosnia's neighbor, the rather turbulent and belligerent Serbia, with its anti-Austrian government rattling sabres and vitriol, became a hotbed of growing discontent with Austria.  Serbia allied itself with Bosnia's southern Slavs.

The Balkans were simmering over, finally collapsing into war after Franz Ferdinand and his morganatic wife, Sophie, were assassinated by Serbia, by Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb, carrying out the final act designed by the Black Hand, formed by members of the Serbian army in 1901 with the sole goal of uniting Serbians under one kingdom.

Born in 1863 to Archduke Karl Ludwig and his second wife, Maria Annunciata of Bourbon-Two-Sicilies,  Franz Ferdinand, as nephew of Emperor Franz Joseph, grew up in a privileged world.  He was given a traditional education, served in the military, traveled, and was expected to marry well.  What was not expected was his elevation to the position as heir presumptive.  

His life changed for ever on January 30, 1889, when his first cousin, Crown Prince Rudolf, took his own life after killing his mistress, Baroness Marie Vetsera, in the imperial hunting lodge at Mayerling.  As Rudolf's only child was a daughter, whose dynastic rights came only after all the Habsburg males, the succession to the throne passed to  Franz Josef's next brother, Archduke Karl Ludwig, and his three sons, Franz Ferdinand, Otto, and Ferdinand Karl. 

It was not a family branch that gave Franz Josef a lot of confidence.  But as Greg King and Sue Woolmans note in The Assassination of the Archduke (St. Martin's Press:$27.99), Archduke Franz Ferdinand's "youthful privilege gave way to a more contemplative, responsible character in the wake of Mayerling."   In contrast to the his debauched brother, Archduke Otto, father of Archduke Karl,  Franz Ferdinand accepted his dynastic future, although many in Austria were convinced that when he came to the throne,  the monarchy would suffer severe damage.

And then there was the little matter of his marriage.  Franz Ferdinand, as heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was seen as a major catch for a Catholic princess.   He longed for "peace, for a cozy home, and a family."  Archduke Isabella, the wife of the very rich Archduke Friedrich, was determined to marry her eldest daughter, Archduchess Maria Christina, to Franz Ferdinand.  

Cupid had other ideas.  Maria Christina certainly had the "impeccable qualifications," but Franz Friedrich was in love with another,  Countess Sophie Chotek, a member of a prestigious noble Czech family, but certainly not acceptable  for a member of the Habsburg, especially to the heir to the throne.,

The story of Franz Ferdinand and Sophie is well known.  This was a love match, a true marriage, but a marriage that was not equal.  Franz Josef was adamant that the marriage not take place, but when he realized that Franz Ferdinand was not going to give up Sophie, and marry an archduchess, he allowed the marriage to take place.   But Sophie, and any children born of the marriage, would not share Franz Ferdinand's rank and title.  Sophie would never be empress.  Franz Ferdinand signed documents agreeing to all of this.  

Sophie was created Princess of Hohenberg, and eventually, Duchess of Hohenberg, a title inherited by her elder son,  During most of her married life, she suffered indignity after indignity showered on her by court officials.   In contrast,  Kaiser Wilhelm II treated her with great affection when Franz Ferdinand and Sophie made an official visit to Germany.

My personal library has several English-language biographies on Franz Ferdinand,  but  none compare to the depth of this superb book.  Greg and Sue have breathed life into the Franz Ferdinand and Sophie's story, offering perspective and insight into their lives.   Although Franz Ferdinand had a role to play as heir to the throne,  his first thoughts were always with his wife and their three children, Sophie, Max and Ernst.  He reveled in the quietness of his family life at their home, Schloss Konopiste, in Bohemia.  Franz Ferdinand preferred his Czech palace to his residence in Vienna.

The story of Franz Ferdinand is more than the love and devotion toward his wife and children.  He was the heir to a throne caught in the middle of fractious politics, rumblings in the Balkans, leading inexorably to Sarajevo.  

By 1914, Sophie was able to attend more functions with her husband, and she accompanied him to Germany and England, earning praise from other sovereigns.  Thus, Sophie was able to accompany Franz Ferdinand to Bosnia,  where the Black Hand's plan came to fruition.

The story does not end with the deaths of Franz Ferdinand and Sophie.  The repercussions were far reaching.  The assassination is seen as one of the final catalyst of Serbia's determination to be taken seriously, but Serbia's goals soon sputtered to defeat.    There were also personal repercussions.  Three young children were now without their parents.  They were not Habsburgs, but Hohenbergs, and not entitled to family benefits.  Franz Ferdinand and Sophie were buried at Schloss Arstetten, their Austrian estate, where they were buried together, equally.   Home remain Konopiste until the end of the first world war, when the newly independent Czechoslovakia confiscated the property from the family, stating it was Habsburg property.   It did  not matter to the new Czechoslovak government that they were breaking the law because the owners were Hohenbergs, not Habsburgs.  Franz Ferdinand's great-granddaughter, Princess Sophie von Hohenberg, has been fighting the Czech government for some years, trying to regain the schloss.

King and Woolmans were able to access far more than the usual sources as their research found more private correspondence and other materials.   

The Assassination of the Archduke is truly enjoyable book that offers new insight into the lives of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Countess Sophie Chotek, where romance won out over a dynastic marriage.

Sue Woolmans interviewed by BBC

No surprise to see Sue Woolmans interviewed by the BBC - she is a sound engineer in London -- regarding The Assassination of the Archduke which was co-written with Greg King.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Now available in the USA - Daughter of Empire by Lady Pamela Hicks

Simon & Schuster is the US publisher for Lady Pamela Hicks's Daughter of Empire, a must read!!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Now on Kindle only new titles on Princess Helena and the Romanovs

Helena: Queen Victoria's Third Daughter is by royal biographer, John van der Kiste.

The Last Romanovs: In Their Own Words by Helen Azar

You do not need to own a Kindle to read these books. If you have an IPad, other tablets, or a Smartphone, you can download the Kindle app from the from Apple or Google Play.   The app is free. 

I have the Kindle and Nook apps on my IPad.   Neither of these books are available in printed word.  Bummer.

Kindle books are geo-blocked.  If you live in the USA, for example, you can download only items on the US Amazon site.  Americans cannot download books from's Kindle site.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A selection of Royal Baby magazines

I walked into my local Barnes & Noble last weekend to check out the latest Hello! and found a display of Royal Baby commemorative magazines.  One would expect to see a display rack like this in Smith's at Victoria Station, but this display is in Springfield,  Virginia. 

In other words: the birth of Prince George was big news in the USA, and it comes as no surprise that publishers big and small are rushing out commemorative magazines in honor of Prince George's  birth.   The same thing happened in 1982 following the birth of Prince William.

The quality of the magazines range from People and Life to Royal Baby and Woman Royal Baby (which comes from England.)  Although the I have not acquired all of the new magazines, I will try to include information about the magazines I have purchased or the ones I left behind.   I am sure there are more commemorative magazines in the United Kingdom, as well as in Canada and Australia.

People's 80- page Special Collector's Edition, Hello, Prince George, features a selection of the first photos taken outside the Lindo Wing, St, Mary's Hospital.  This well produced magazine also includes several chapters on William and Catherine's romance, their wedding, their childhoods, Catherine's maternity fashions, and Meet the family: from Great Grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II to second cousins, Savannah and Isla Phillips.    This is a magazine to keep.  It is more like a large size paperback book.

The magazine will remain on sale through November 1.  The price is $11.99 ($15.00 Canadian,)

The Little Prince ($11.99/16.99) is the title of Life's Commemorative issue.  This 96-page soft cover volume includes a historical photos of Princes and Princesses, chapters on "When Charles was the Royal Baby" and "When Wills was the Royal Baby", and "Born to be a Princess."  

This special issue includes photos of royal babies around the world (historical) and rather well-written articles on the Queen, the Prince of Wales (a rather positive portrait), little George's Uncle Harry and Aunt Pippa, wedding photos  -- and of course, the first baby photos.

As this publication was produced by Life, the focus is on the image, and the text is secondary.  The text is good and accurate, but the photos, from the historical images to the beaming new mom (who resembles a young Dame Diana Rigg, which is a true compliment) on the front cover, makes this magazine a winner. 

This magazine is also on sale through November 1.

The People and Life special issues are both from the same publisher, Time, Inc.

Now that Newsweek is only available online (and recently sold again), I do not expect this once venerable and respected news magazine to produce a special issue.

After the People and Life magazines, the quality goes straight down.
Woman, a British women's magazine, has produced the Royal Baby Souvenir issue (£2.99/$7.99). The cover trumpets "246 amazing photos inside) with insider details about the fairytale nursery, christening preparations and the lavish gifts.  Let's be realistic: most of the photographs are not of the new baby.  

I did like the selection of photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge as a child.  Some of these photos I had not seen before, a nice surprise.  This magazine also features a photo of Catherine and William and George meeting the press with the focus on the press.  Look closely and you will see the very pregnant Camilla Tominey, who is the royal correspondent for the Sunday Express, and The Today Show's Natalie Morales, taking photos with their mobile phones.

It is doubtful that the duke and duchess will ask David Beckham to be one of George's godparents, despite what it is written in this magazine.  Yes, there are articles on grandpa Charles and grandma Carole, and a report on young European royals, but dear writer at Woman,  George is not going to marry a foreign royal.  

Historical Collector's Edition presents Royal Baby, a 66-page glossy magazine published in New York City.   Not much text here, but plenty of photos: William, Catherine, the baby, christenings, historic royal photos,  Catherine's maternity fashions, what the nursery might be like for a prince or a princess (one assumes most of the magazine was ready for press before George's birth).  

The penultimate page has several photos about the celebrations in "Buckleberry".  Don't these editors ever check things.  It is bad enough that the magazine is Historical Collector's Edition (when it should be Historical Collectors' Edition, unless I am the only person to have this magazine), but BUCKLEBERRY.   The town does not have Buckle berry fruits.  The town is called Bucklebury.

Thankfully this magazine will be on sale only until September 30.  The price is $7.99 in the US and in Canada.

Royal Life is a bi-monthly glossy magazine published by Legacy Magazines, based on Clacton, Essex, although the magazine is printed in Montana.  This magazine does not compete with Majesty because it focuses on the British Royal Family, and does not feature articles or photographs of European or Asian royal families.

The Royal Life Royal Baby Special issue is Issue #5.   The cover shows the new parents outside the Lindo Wing as they present their son to the world. 

The magazine's ubiquitous articles feature the young William and Catherine, their romance, the Wedding, the whole world celebrates the birth of baby Cambridge.  it seems the magazine went to press within hours of the first photo call because there are no references to the baby's name.

Good quality and value (£4.99/$7.99) and plenty of photographs of William and Catherine.

I also purchased Princess Kate Portraits of the Future Queen, a special commemorative magazine, published by New York based-Topix media.   Catherine is the focus of the magazine, which was on sale through August 20.  Plenty of photos of her fashions, her beauty secrets, and 20 pages devoted to Diana, Princess of Wales.

No points for accuracy.   Lady Louise Windsor is not the Queen's youngest grandchild. She has a younger brother, James.  In the photo identification for the wedding photograph,  William is described as HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, but his wife is listed as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.  Sloppy to say the least.   Most Kate fans won't notice the errors.  They will like the magazine because of the photos and the Kate fashion tips.

These are the magazines that I have purchased.

 I expect more to be published, perhaps after the baptism.  

Royal Baby, published by Archant, is available on both sides of the pond, including Barnes & Noble.  I browsed through the publication.  Lots of photographs, but I passed on purchasing it because there were better magazines available, such as the Life commemorative issue.

The Press Association, Britain's domestic news agency and Future Publishing teamed together for Royal Baby, a glossy magazine, which according to the blurb "offers unrivaled coverage of the celebrations, complete with an intimate look at the whole family at this happy time – from Kate's relationship to the Queen, through to Uncle Harry's delight."

This link provides price, ordering information, and a selection of pages .

Canadian newsmagazine, Macleans, has published two special issues.  I have not seen these publications.  I do not expect to see them for sale in the USA,  except perhaps in shops near the Canadian border.  The price for each magazine is $12.95 (Cdn.)

British tabloid, the Daily Mirror, has published a special commemorative issue, as well.  I have not seen (yet) in the United States.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Death of the Archduke by Greg King and Sue Woolmans

Greg King's The Death of the Archduke, a new examination of the life of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and the political machinations that led to his assassination in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, will be published in September on both sides of the Pond.  The U.S. release is on September 3, followed by publication in the U.K., on September 26.  Sue Woolmans is the co-author.


Monday, July 29, 2013

A bumper crop of royal baby books

The latest in new books about the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge. I have not seen any of these books, but I bet the Royal Collection's book will be well done. Just remember if you purchase a book through one of these links or through the Amazon search boxes or Amazon store links on RBN or Royal Musings, I earn a few pennies. Seriously, a few pennies. You do not have to confine your shopping to royal books on Amazon -- just use my search boxes on my two blogs for all your Amazon purchases.

I hope to review several of these titles in the next few months. 


Monday, July 15, 2013

PALACES – The trace of a time recorded on the highest hill in Dedinje


 “PALACES – The trace of a time recorded on the highest hill in Dedinje” book launch at the Royal Palace

 Belgrade, 15 July 2013 – Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander II and Crown Princess Katherine hosted this evening the launch of the book “PALACES – The trace of a time recorded on the highest hill in Dedinje” by an architect Zvonko B. Petkovic this evening at the Royal Palace in Dedinje. Family members of Their Royal Highnesses, Mr. David Andrews with spouse Mrs. Angeliki Margariti Andrews and son, Alexander George Michael, Mrs. Alison Andrews with daughter Ms. Amanda Garfinkel.  

HRH Crown Prince Alexander welcomed the guests and said: “The construction of the Royal Compound in Dedinje was commissioned by my grandfather, HM King Alexander I, in 1922, as a testament to our great nation. Upon the return of my family to our home, twelve years ago, the gates of the Royal Compound have been opened to the public, enabling our citizens to get to know this unique monument of Serbian culture, priceless heritage, which in our recent history was not fully known to our public. My family has put great efforts into rectifying that situation. The book which is in front of you, ‘The Palaces’, written by Zvonko Petkovic, is yet another way of bringing closer the previously forgotten treasures of the Dedinje Palaces, their history and architecture, as the inseparable part of our tradition and culture.”

Speeches were also delivered by Prof. Dr Zoran Avramovic, state secretary at the Ministry of Culture and information of Serbia, Dr. Zoran Gavric, professor at the University of Applied Arts and one of the reviewers of the book and the author.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

EDDY & HÉLÈNE ... an impossible match

EDDY & HÉLÈNE ... an impossible match

by Prince Michael of Greece

If Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, ‘Eddy’ to his family and friends, had lived to become king, Britain might have had a Roman Catholic queen. He certainly hoped it would. Biographers have dismissed Eddy’s love for Princess Hélène of Orléans as a thing of no consequence, the passing whim of an ineffectual prince who did the monarchy a favour by dying. But the recent discovery of a cache of original documents relating to their romance casts a new light on the affair, showing just how much the relationship meant to the couple themselves, and the lengths to which their families went in searching for a settlement that would allow them to marry. Ultimately, the religious obstacles proved too great, to the lasting sorrow of all concerned. Echoes of the affair lingered for many years, as this collection shows, though Eddy did not long survive the end of his hopes.

 He lived long enough to contract a ‘suitable’ engagement to a childhood friend before dying of infl uenza in the winter of 1891-1892, and his reputation almost died with him. So little evidence was known until now of the man he was – the man Hélène and those close to him knew – that later generations created their own myth to fi ll the blank. But the newly-discovered material in this book includes the letters Eddy sent to Hélène, which open a unique window into the character of a muchmaligned prince, and suggest that his whole biography may need to be rewritten ...

Published by Rosvall Royal Books.  I will be receiving a review copy, and will be reviewing the book here.

To purchase the book:

Books about the Cambridges

Recommended reading for the folks who write the press releases at Buckingham Palace. The children of the present Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will not be the first princes or princesses of Cambridge.

Pope-Hennssey's biography of Queen Mary is perhaps the best royal biography ever written.  Includes Mary's correspondence with her aunt Augusta.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Royal Christmas by Jeremy Archer

It's hot, hazy and humid.  Summertime.  So many good books to read ... and to keep cool, sit down in a comfy chair, pour a lemonade, and dive into A Royal Christmas (Elliot & Thompson: £20.00/$32.95), a comprehensive account of British royal Christmases.

Archer is a historian who specializes in Christmas.  He has an appreciation for its traditions and history, and combines it with the British royal family.

The focus of this book is the modern royal family from Queen Victoria to modern day.

Mixing royalty and Christmas provides interesting reading, especially as Archer uses the royals' own words.

Queen Victoria wrote on Christmas Eve, 1841, "arranged Albert's table with Xmas presents, in my former bedroom ... One of the things I value most is an enamel of "Pussy" after Ross, mounted as a brooch...."

It was the Hanoverians who brought many of the Christmas traditions that the royals and their subjects continue to enjoy,  Although Prince Albert is oft-credited with bringing the Christmas tree to Britain, the tradition began earlier, perhaps with Queen Charlotte, consort of George III, who in 1800, placed "in the middle of room stood an immense tub with a yew-tree placed in it, from the branches of which hung bunches of sweetmeats, almonds and raisins..."

The British royal family also made Christmas into a family event, a time for parents and children come together.  Gift giving, simple gifts, became the touchstone for the celebrations. 

Christmas celebrations were also marred by family and political crises, which included the Crimean war, the issue of Schleswig-Holstein, two world wars, the deaths of the Prince Consort (1861) and Princess Alice (1878), and, the abdication of Edward VIII.  (I was surprised Archer did not mention the birth of Princess Alexandra, which occurred on Christmas Day, 1936, a moment of joy after the trauma of abdication.)

In 1854, Queen Victoria wrote:  "Poor Christmas Eve,  that happiest of festivals, comes this year at such at sad troubled time, which is quite distressing."

Archer devotes the final chapters to the Christmas broadcast, which began in 1932.  George V's broadcasts were live, sent out on radio to Britain and the Commonwealth.

The illustrations include photographs of royal Christmas cards.  

A Royal Christmas is meticulously researched and a delightful read, a book I know I will be dipping into from time to time, especially around Christmas.



Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Royal Coronations

Lucinda Gosling's Royal Coronations (Shirebooks: £6.99) is a nifty little reference book.  This is a everything you need to know about British coronations in a nutshell. 65 pages.  Plenty of illustrations.  From planning the coronation to the regalia, pageantry and ceremony,  Royal Coronations is the perfect source for information.

This book was published to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation.

This book may be a slim volume, but it is chock full of informative details about royal coronations. 
The US price is $12.99.  It is also available on Kindle.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Robert Jobson's new royal book: The New Royal Family

From the site

A fully updated insider's account of the royal romance from trusted journalist Robert Jobson, NBC's royal correspondent It is the love story which captivated the world. and, after 8 years together, William and Kate married in spectacular style at Westminster Abbey on April 29th, 2011. This is a true insider account of Prince William's amazing love affair with Kate Middleton; from their initial meeting at university in Scotland to married life in North Wales while William pursues his RAF career. He is the confident young Prince who is the future of the Royal family. She is the royal bride and future Queen Consort who is thoroughly modern and confounds all the stereotypes of how a royal partner should be. Since the Palace announced the Duchess's much-anticipated pregnancy in 2012, speculation has gone into overdrive about the pitter-patter of tiny feet. This in-depth book chronicles the next chapter in this modern-day fairytale and is packed with beautiful photographs, fascinating facts, and expert analysis into the most pivotal royal romance of our time. An intriguing insight and unrivaled souvenir, this is an essential read for royalists and romantics alike.

Photos are by Arthur Edwards, MBE

No cover art apparently.  The book will be published on August 5 by British publisher John Blake. The price will be £12.99.

I look forward to reading this book as Jobson actually his subject ... royalty ... which cannot be said about several other British journalists who cover the royal beat.

The New Royal Family

Friday, May 31, 2013

Forthcoming biographies on the Duchess of Cambridge

Take note -- two new "biographies" of the  Duchess of Kent due out later this year:

Friday, May 17, 2013

Presentation of “A King’s Heritage – The Memoirs”

Presentation of  “A King’s Heritage – The Memoirs”

 by King Peter II of Yugoslavia

 Belgrade, 17 May 2013 – Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine, together with Mr. Novica Jeftic, the director of the Evro-Giunti Publishing House, Mr. Dusan Babac, director of the Royal Palace Fund, and Dr. Slobodan G. Markovic, historian and professor at the Faculty of Political Science, presented the book “A King’s Heritage – The Memoirs” by King Peter II of Yugoslavia this evening at the Royal Palace.

 This exceptional event at the Royal Palace was attended by members of the Privy Council Mr. Dragomir Acovic and Dr. Dusan Batakovic, members of the Crown Council Academician Matija Beckovic and Prof. Dr. Slobodan Perovic, members of the Crown Cabinet Mr. Djordje Djurisic, Mr. Milorad Savicevic and Mr. Mirko Petrovic, Dr Ljubomir Kostic, a friend from teenage days of HM King Peter II, members of diplomatic corps H.E. Mr. Abdellah Zagour, Ambassador of Morocco, H.E. Mr. Abdelkader Mesdoua, Ambassador  of Algeria, H.E. Mr. Abolghasem Delfi, Ambassador of Iran, Col. William English, defence attaché at the UK Embassy and other distinguished guests.

  HRH Crown Prince Alexander II, son of HM King Peter II, addressed the guests: “Today, when my father would have been 90, reading his memoirs helps us to see his life, his decisions and acts in a quite different way. This in turn helps us also to better understand the times in which we live. Readers of this book will find in it a clear picture of the true face of the person about which it speaks and see the huge difference between the communist’s decades-long brutal propaganda against my father and what he truly was.“

 On the occasion of the state funeral of HM King Peter II, his wife HM Queen Alexandra and his mother HM Queen Maria, the Publishing House Euro-Giunti in cooperation with the Royal Palace Fund prepared the memoirs of the of HM King Peter II the father of HRH Crown Prince Alexander. The Memoirs represent a priceless heritage telling us about people and occurrences which marked the first half of the 20th century.   

 “A King’s Heritage – The Memoirs” by King Peter II of Yugoslavia is a luxurious  bilingual edition, in Serbian and English, with more than 250 authentic photographs and facsimile of original documents. Some of these documents and photographs were never published before; especially the ones referring to the period of the Second World War, the exile, the visit to the United Kingdom and the Middle East, as well as the official visit to the United States of America in 1942 and the King’s meeting with the President Franklin Roosevelt. King Peter II was the youngest head of state to address the Unites States Congress.

 The book that was presented this evening is of extreme value to our history, it is a true picture of the time, portraits, decisions shown through the prism of personal experience and destiny of the Yugoslav King. The documentation build in the body of the memoirs, as well as the material selected by the editor in order to create a capital work, are of an enormous importance. While the epilogue written by prof. dr Slobodan Markovic represents a contemporary overview of the life and work of HM King Peter II.

The King Peter’s memoirs revive and reveal an era, a social moment in time, characters and roles of the participants and the contemporaries of that time, giving us an opportunity to build a clear picture of them and to relive, for ourselves, these historical moments that now belong to the past. 


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Dutch magazines on King Willem-Alexander's investiture

Dutch royal expert Netty Leistra has provided information on the Dutch royal magazines with coverage of King Willem-Alexander's investiture.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Willem-Alexander's Inauguration:DVD

Dutch broadcaster NOS will be releasing a three DVD set on May 11 with coverage of Queen Beatrix's abdication and  King Willem-Alexander's inauguration.  Nine hours. 

The DVD will cost 19.99 (Euros).  It will be PAL and Region 2.  This means most North Americans will not be able to view these, unless you have an all region-code free DVD player/recorder.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory

All hail Philippa Gregory!  Her books are intensely readable, and enjoyable, too.  Although she sometimes skewers the historical facts, her books are top notch.  Why?  Because Philippa Gregory is a superb storyteller. 

The Kingsmaker's Daughter (Touchstone: $26.99) is the gripping story of Anne Neville, younger daughter of  Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, the Kingmaker.  Warwick does not have a son and heir, but he has two daughters, Isabel and Anne.  Wealthy heiresses who become the pawns for their father's political ambitions. 

Warwick played to win.  He first supported Edward VI and his queen, Elizabeth Woodville, and their court, where Isabel and Anne were raised.  Isabel was married to the king's brother, the Duke of Clarence.   A marriage was also arranged for Anne: she was to wed the King's youngest brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester.

As the political winds changed, Warwick chooses to go to war against Edward, throwing his support to the former king Henry VI, and marrying Anne to Henry's son, Edward, Prince of Wales.

Anne was nothing more than a pawn for her father's needs.  Warwick restored Henry to the throne, but the restoration did not last long.  Henry was defeated in battle by Edward, who reclaimed his crown.  The Prince of Wales was killed,  and Anne taken prisoner,
Anne, widowed and fatherless, was placed in the custody of her sister and brother-in-law, who had his own ambitions. Greedy and culpable, the Duke of Clarence, wanted to get his hands on the Neville inheritance: his wife's and Anne's.

 Clarence, of course, would end up in a butt of malmsey.  Anne managed to get away from her family, and marry the Duke of Gloucester.  They settled at Middleham in the north, where Richard was popular.  Anne gave birth to a son, Edward.  After the deaths of her sister and Clarence, Anne raised their two children.   Richard supported his older brother, Edward, but following the king's death in 1483, Richard took the throne after his nephew, Edward V, was declared illegitimate.  

Anne became the queen, fulfilling her father's ambition, and her son became Prince of Wales, but the young prince died in 1484 at the age of ten.  Richard named the young Earl of Clarence as his heir. 

The final months of Anne's life were spent largely away from the court.  She was beset by the rumors of the deaths of her husband's nephews, and the planned invasion by Henry Tudor.  Queen Anne died early in 1485, several months before Richard III  was killed in battle.

The Kingmaker's Daughter is the fourth in The Cousin's War, a fictionalized account of the War of the Roses as seen through the eyes of distaff Plantagenets. This is the type of book to cuddle up with on a cold night as the snow falls outside or while relaxing at the pool, a frozen Margarita in one hand.

This is a book that can't be put down, a true page turner.  Anne Neville never had a choice.  Her father made all the decisions.   She was nothing but a pawn to be used to gain more power.  It is said that Richard III was fond of his wife, and truly mourned her.  Philippa Gregory breathes life into the tragedy that was Anne Neville's life.

You will love The Kingmaker's Daughter.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Heads up! Out in September The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

I know this book will be very, very good ... just sayin'   Greg King is one of the best royal writers writing today ... and Sue Woolmans is very passionate about this topic!  St. Martin's Press will publish the book in September.  The British publisher is Pan Macmillan, which will also release the book in September.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Other Grand Dukes

Hurrah!  Hurrah!   After several years (five perhaps) of waiting ... and waiting,  The Other Grand Dukes is finally available.

This is the second of two volumes of mini biographies on the Russian Grand Dukes.

The first book, The Grand Dukes (published in 2010), covered the sons of the Emperors.  This book focuses on the sons and grandsons of the Grand Dukes. 

It would be unprofessional .. and improper ... to review this book because I wrote one of the chapters:  Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovich.

I have to say, however, the chapters were all written by terrific writers and royal experts:  Charles Stewart, Janet Ashton, Coryne Hall, Grant Hayter-Menzies, Penny Wilson, Ilana Miller, Greg King, Zoia Belyakova and Arturo Beeche.

The Other Grand Dukes was published by  The price is $43.95.

I won't get any royalties for copies sold, but if you click on the link here and purchase or go through my Amazon search box,  I will get a few pennies for
each  book sold.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Ladies of Spain by Andrew Morton

Andrew Morton has written a new book, Ladies of Spain, which has been published in Spain ... and yes, in Spanish.  He wrote the book in English, and the Spanish publisher had the book translated into Spanish.  The book is about Queen Sofia, Infantas Elena and Cristina and the Princess of Asturias.

So far, the book has not been published in the original English. The Spanish edition can be purchased from Amazon's Kindle store.  I do not know if or when the book will be published in English. 


The Kindle stores are also offering in Spanish a biography on Iñaki Urdangarin.

These books are in Spanish only, and available in a Kindle edition, although there is also a hardcover Spanish book.

Here is the link to for the book.